Like China, India also has a gruelling work culture



NEW DELHI: Jack Ma recently made headlines when he supported a tough overtime work schedule. China has had a work culture of long hours, often referred to as 996 — slogging from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week. Tech employees there are now starting to push back, saying it kills creativity.


Do Indian startups have similar gruelling schedules? Many do. A number of employees even work on weekends and vacations. Founders defend it, saying that with investors and shareholders breathing down their necks, slacking off from aggressive expansion could mean the closure of the firm.


“Tiny Owl and Housing.com’s spectacular failures only heightened the pressure on the rest of us. When you are a startup competing with established players, you not only have to price lower, you have to work harder and deliver on shorter timelines to impress clients,” said a founder of a B2B marketplace that has secured its D Series of funding. “I remember chauffeuring my female colleagues at 2 or 3 am home because we had to work till late hours but didn’t have money for their transport.”

B2B市场一位已经获得D轮融资的创始人表示:“Tiny Owl and Housing(印度本土订餐服务商)的惨痛失败加大了我们这些人的压力。如果你是一家与老牌公司竞争的初创公司,不仅你的定价必须更低,你还必须更加努力,在更短的时间内交付产品,给客户留下深刻印象。我记得我在凌晨2点或3点开车送女同事回家,我们不得不工作到很晚,但又没有钱让她们打车。”

Those in the industry say Indians, both in big companies and startups, are becoming exactly like the Chinese and Japanese when it comes to killer working hours. “Look at private banks or telecom companies, even their employees work 9 am to 9 pm,” said Sarika Bhattacharya, CEO of Biz Divas, which works on inclusivity at corporate houses.

业内人士表示,无论是在大公司还是初创企业,印度人的工作时间上正与中国人和日本人越来越趋同。Biz Divas首席执行官萨丽卡·巴塔查里亚说:“看看私人银行或电信公司,就连他们的员工也从早上9点工作到晚上9点。

Long hours often seem to be “voluntary” as employees are rewarded through faster promotions, more recognition, and ESOPs. “If they are part of the founding team and are emotionally invested in the startup and founder, then it becomes their dream, their passion, and long hours become irrelevant,” Bhattacharya said.


Often, the problem in early-stage startups is that work roles are not clearly defined and as there only a handful of employees, each ends up performing a variety of tasks. Some may not be equipped to do those tasks, spending an inordinately long time to complete them. While some employees see this as new and all-round learning, specialists sometimes find it irksome that they are expected to be jacks of all trades. “I was hired to head their strategy and marketing. But soon I felt like the head of operations. Anything and everything would get assigned to me. There was lack of accountability, because everyone was doing everything, stepping on each other’s toes; there was duplication of work, errors and misses. It was crazy. I quit soon to go back to working for an MNC,” said a former employee of an agri-tech startup.


There’s also a bro culture that leads to late nights, which are an irritant for some women employees. A female employee at a startup said she had a young child and cannot work beyond 7-8 pm. “But I work very hard when I am in office. It seems very unfair that guys, who just lounge around and play table tennis in the afternoon and work late nights, nursing beers, are seen as putting in more hours in office and having greater ‘team spirit’,” she said. She logs hours at a coworking space, which has amenities like sleep pods, indoor games, gym, terrace gardens, and swings with plug-ins for laptops. “It looks very cool and fancy, but it’s just an inducement to work longer, and not necessarily more effectively,” she said.

还有一种导致深夜加班的“兄弟文化”,这对一些女员工来说令人烦恼。一名初创公司的女员工说,她有一个年幼的孩子,晚上七八点以后不能工作。“ 我在办公室的时候,工作非常努力。那些在下午闲逛、打乒乓球,然后晚上工作到很晚的人反而被视为具有更强的‘团队精神’,这很不公平。”她在一个有睡眠舱、室内游戏、健身房、露台花园和可连接笔记本电脑的秋千等设施的办公空间里工作,经常加班。她说:“这办公场所看起来很酷,很炫,但它只是一种激励,让你工作得更久,但不一定更有效。”

It’s a culture where singletons with no commitments indirectly gain the upper hand over seniors who might not want to burn the midnight candle.


“Long work hours don’t mean higher productivity,” said Dr Aniruddha Malpani, an angel investor in the healthcare space, referring to companies which encourage or mandate this schedule. People burn out, he pointed out. “It’s like a race to the bottom. For knowledge workers, it’s a particularly stupid metric. How would one get inspired or be creative?” he said.


According to Upasana Taku of digital payments firm Mobikwik, long working hours are generally more common in the initial years, but as a startup expands, people have a better work-life balance. “During the first two or four years, yes, people work six days a week and many a time, for 12 hours daily, or even 14 to 16 hours. But it’s not sustainable,” Taku said. “Also, as the company matures, it requires an experienced senior management and industry experts, who are not used to crazy hours. So then one makes more accommodative HR policies. Today, as a nineyear-old company, we work only five days a week.”

数字支付公司Mobikwik的Upasana Taku表示,在创业初期,长时间工作通常更为常见,但随着初创企业的扩张,人们的工作和生活之间的平衡会更好。“是的,在最初的两到四年里,人们每周工作六天,很多时候每天工作12个小时,甚至14到16个小时。但这是不可持续的。此外,随着公司的成熟,它需要一位经验丰富的高级管理人员和行业专家,而他们不习惯疯狂的工作时间,因此会制定更宽松的人力资源政策。如今,作为一家成立已久的公司,我们每周只工作五天。”


译文来源:三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/47568.html   译者:Jessica.Wu


Roguenation - 3 hours ago -Follow

Lack of labour laws has resulted in us working for 12 hours with no holidays on weekends and even on national holidays. I still remember getting mails on every Thursday regarding mandatory weekend support in Cognizant and if you say you don't want to come, you should be ready for a mouthful from the team leader and manager. This has been going on continuously since last 2 years. The managers and leads go back home and enjoy weekends but associates continue to slog in extra hours.



Smoking - Land of Cannabis Indica - 2 hours ago -Follow

Also compare the public holidays which Chinese work force take during major festivals and celebrations.

Chinese New Year- 10-14 days

Qinming festival- 2 days

Labor day- 5 days minimum or a week

Dragon boat festival- 3 days

Autumn festival- 3 days

National day- 3-4 days minimum.

New Year- 2 days

on an average the Chinese work force and companies have at least 28- 30 holidays throughout the year which is much more compared to India had other countries. Basically they compensate these long public holidays with a 996 work schedule.

Nothing big about it.


春节- 10-14天

清明节- 2天


端午节- 3天

中秋节- 3天


元旦- 2天



The - Somewhere in India - 3 hours ago -Follow

Govt must make stringent labour & employee laws so that private firms & companies don't end up exploiting the people working out there.

It is ridiculous to think that more work means more productivity, rather in the long run it is harmful for the physical & psychological health of the employees




dySuan - 3 hours ago -Follow

Indian managers have been proven as the disaster for any company across the globe with few exceptions ...



T12 hours ago -Follow

996 culture is need of hour in govt. offices / institutions in India. the decision of 5 days a week was taken by govt on the pretext of shortage of electricity, which is not the case now.



Shaun Parker - 2 hours ago -Follow

Every company should decide a realistic target for the week for every employee. As long as the target is achieved, it should''t matter if the employee is taking 4 days or the whole week. In fact the lesser the time taken, the more efficient the employee is.



Abhishiek Ghosh - 1 hour ago -Follow

Thats why in India people perfer Govt Jobs.



Deepak Vohra - 2 hours ago -Follow

there is no work culture in india….there are no labor laws....people at the top do not work, do not know anything of work



Balaji Krishna - Bengaluru - 2 hours ago -Follow

There is something called as Employee burnout. 996 is a misnomer. Chinese are slave mongers hence come up with all these weird ideas. It is not a sustainable model



Jay - Bengaluru - 1 hour ago -Follow

Indians are lazy and spend more time gossiping... Smoking.... Chai-vai......



Sunil - 2 hours ago -Follow

Many employees have learnt to game the system. They do timepass in canteen during day time and do overtime at night. Performance should be judged on amount of work done and not on time spent in office.



Ranjith Sanjay - Hyderabad - 2 hours ago -Follow

Most of the Indian companies are encouraging this... The main reason is die to lenient labour laws unlike in foreign countries...



Dean - traveller - 2 hours ago -Follow

in people do donkey work!! how many are really creative people out there?

regular jobs ( white collar, blue collar ) can be terned as donkey work!!

把人当驴使!! 有几个真正有创造力?普通的工作(白领,蓝领)可以称为驴活!!


Razia Khan - India - 3 hours ago -Follow

Working efficiently should be important rather than showing off and sitting long hours? Donkey works 18 hours and Lion sleeps 18 hours still Lion is king of Jungle. Modi also says he work 18 hours



Guru - 2 hours ago -Follow

Problem is 1 person works hard. And if we had to get promotion or incentives we had to work even more harder.. This is one of the big problem everyone face.. Need to effectively manage work life balance.



Makdxb - INDIA - 11 mins ago -Follow

This is not a good idea, When working hours are comfortable, the potential of employees will be increased. When the employees forced to work long hours, it wouldn''t give any positives to the employees,. Instead the business will take dive as the employees will find it fatigue in their body



Sfo - 20 mins ago -Follow

But China employee has lot more long leaves like Chinese New year etc. And also, when they are off, they are really off. Also, Sunday is Sunday, no work on that day.

In India, problem is we're working at 30% efficiency on all 7 days. We always have laptop on our lap, pretending to.be working. Only God can save us, educated idiots.




Fierce - 28 mins ago -Follow

This is a problem with typical Indian mentality where productivity is not counted by what results you have given, instead it is calculated by number of hours you spend in office without producing results.



Satish - 1 hour ago -Follow

you can work for 24 hrs if company is yours



Haresh - 1 hour ago -Follow

Population is India's biggest problem. We have limited resources and population is very high. This leads to competition. In developed countries people work lesser than us but earn more.



Balachandramenon Vengasserry - Alappuzha - 2 hours ago -Follow

Working 12/16 hours a day is common Asian Culture.


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